Child Custody Modification: Determining a Child’s Best Interest
As divorcing spouses work through the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) arrangements following their separation, there are a number of important areas parents must address in order to protect the best interests of the child. Everything from living and school arrangements to religious upbringing and financial agreements contribute to the production of a solid parenting plan that benefits the whole family.
To create custody and visitation plans that each party can agree on requires a significant amount of evaluation, however. According to Illinois law, the child’s best interests must first be considered to successfully identify which arrangements will work in the family’s favor. The court considers all the following factors when determining the child’s best interest:
The distance between the parents’ houses, each parent’s daily schedule (as well as the child’s schedule), and the general logistics behind transporting the child to and from the parents’ homes are referred to as “residential circumstances” and are examined thoroughly when discussing the allocation of parental responsibilities.
If there were existing agreements or courses of conduct prior to the separation that were particularly beneficial in regards to the caretaking of the child, the court will consider these circumstances when visitation and custody plans are arranged. For example, if there was a routine before the school day or a schedule in place designed to accommodate an extracurricular activity, upholding those existing practices will be discussed.
The level of participation each parent has demonstrated in the child’s life before the separation is another factor that is seriously considered when determining which arrangements support the child’s best interest. If one parent was more heavily involved in the child’s life than the other, the visitation and custody plans deemed by the court may be modified to reflect these details.
A child’s basic needs are at the forefront of every parenting plan. Financial needs, educational necessities, the child’s physical and mental health, and their overall safety and well-being are priority. The child’s home environment, daily schedule, school and social lifestyle, and even their religious upbringing have the power to impact their general well-being.
Working alongside a skilled Kane County divorce attorney will provide you with the insight and direction you and your former spouse need to protect the best interest of your children as you move through the divorce process. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. today at 630-584-5550 for a special consultation.